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Syrian rebel leader Zahran Allouch 'killed in air strike near Damascus'

An air strike near Syria's capital Damascus has killed top rebel commander Zahran Allouch, according to opposition activists.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an air strike hit an Islam Army meeting near the Damascus suburb of Otaya on Friday killing several officials including Allouch.

The Local Coordination Committees said Allouch was killed by a Russian air strike in al-Marj area near Damascus.

The Lebanon-based AL-Mayadeen TV said Allouch was killed during a meeting to reconcile two feuding militant factions near Damascus. The station said 13 air strikes hit eastern Damascus on Friday.

Saudi-backed Allouch is one of the most powerful rebel commanders and his group controls large parts of the Damascus suburbs.

His death comes a month before peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition are to begin in Geneva.

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